Beauty And The Beast-Interpretation Essay, Research Paper
Beauty and the Beast is probably one of the most well known fairy tales that the Grimms reproduced. In it s original form it was a long, drawn out story that was catered to adults. The Grimms changed the story to be more understood by children and made it short and to the point. Unlike many of the other fairy tales that they reproduced, Beauty and the Beast contains many subtle symbols in its purest form. It shows a girl and how she transfers to a woman; it also shows that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The one major thing that separates this story from all the rest is that Beauty gets to know the Beast before marrying him.
The story starts out simply enough. There was a merchant who had three daughters and was going to the market. He asked each daughter, what they wanted from the market. The two older daughters were very vain and each wanted material things. Beauty, who was the sweetest of the three asked for a rose that was picked for her by her father. The man gets stuck in a storm and finds himself at a castle where he spends the night. The0re seems to be no one around but there is a wonderful dinner set upon the table. The merchant looks around the house and when he finds no one, he eats the meal. Then since he is weary from his trip he spends the night in the house, the next morning he is served breakfast but again no one shows. So he leaves the castle. On his way out he passed a garden filled with roses and he went to pick one, this is when the beast appeared. He said that the merchant was ungrateful because not only did the beast give him shelter, he gave him food. The Beast condemns the merchant to death. When the merchant explains why he was picking the rose the Beast agreed to let him go, under the condition that, he bring his daughter to serve his time. When the merchant gets home he tells this story to his three daughters and Beauty being the generous person that she is agrees to go to the castle for her father. Over time Beauty gets to know the Beast and learns to become friends with him. It is through this friendship that many of the lessons in the story are taught.
One of the important messages that were taught through the story is that true beauty comes from within. Also, if love is true it will prevail through any means. Beauty is scared of the Beast at first because of his appearance, but slowly over time she gets to know him for whom he was and she becomes a friend with him. The Beast then asks Beauty to marry him and although she has become a friend with the Beast, she can not imagine marrying him. She is still horrified by his appearance The Beast does not take her turning him down personally; instead he gives her a mirror. This mirror is magical; it allows Beauty to see her family who is far away.
In the mirror Beauty can see her family and she sees that her father is very ill. She then wishes out loud, if only I could see him. The Beast in turn shakes his head and turns away. The Beast sees how much pain and grief this realization causes Beauty and tells her that he will let her go if she promises to return in seven days. Beauty is thrilled and throws herself down at the Beast s feet. Beauty returns home to tell her father that the Beast is really kind and good but she enjoys being home so much that seven days pass by without her realizing it. Her love for the beast comes to her in a dream. She dreams that the Beast was dying and calling for her. She then in turn, jumps upon her horse to return to the castle. When she arrives at the castle the Beast is lying in the rose garden as though he was dead. Beauty throws herself at his feet again and says, Don t die, I will marry you. It is then and only then that the Beast is transformed into a handsome prince. It is then that his secret is revealed. A spell was cast upon him by a witch in which he was turned into a Beast. The only way for the Prince to be transformed back into his true self was to get someone to love him for who he really was. This is in turn what happens to Beauty. She does not fall in love with the Beast for looks but for what he is inside. That is what love comes down to. True love will prevail if it is meant to be.
The symbolism in this story is overwhelming in that every little detail can be examined and in turn meant to represent something. Take the forest for example. According to Jung, who was a Neo-Freudian, the forest is meant to be a feminine attribute and can be related to the unconscious. Also notice that Beauty is the youngest daughter of the three. In life the youngest is the most inexperienced and also usually the most protected child. According to Alder, who was also a Neo-Freudian, the youngest child is the one that is most pampered in life and usually felt inferior to the other children. Maybe this is why Beauty was willing to give up her freedom for her father. She was trying to do something to feel superior to her older sisters.
Fairy tales overwhelmingly have an emphasis on looks, in the case it comes in the form of names. Both Beauty and the Beast are named after physical traits that describe their outside appearance but not their inner self. Also, it is the rose that causes the trouble in the first place. A rose can represent perfection, beauty, female sex organs and the trueness of the heart. This could be interpreted as a sign of what the future is to bring for Beauty. Beauty at the start is a young, inexperienced girl who by the end is transformed into a young woman who is to be married. As Beauty sees her father in the mirror and the beast in her dream it is snowing. Snow can only be interpreted as a bad symbol, in this case it represents death, nothingness and virginity. It is only when Beauty is a virgin does she dream and see the snow. It is only in the snow that Beauty sees her father, the man who raised her and the Beast, the man she loved, dying. This has a tremendous impact on her future. The mirror shows the truth of life and represents a person s heart. The Beast gives Beauty this mirror which allowed her to see her family and feel pain. But it also shows her joy and love. If she had not gone home to her family she would have never dreamed of the Beast and never saw how true her love for him was. Most of the things that occur in the story have its beginnings in the garden. It is there where the Beast condemns the merchant to death and it is there where Beauty professes her love for the Beast and he is transformed.
The one thing that separates Beauty and the Beast from all the other fairy tales is that Beauty gets to know the Beast before marrying him. She lives with him for several months and gets to know him for what he is inside. He is not a prince that rescues her but she is a woman that rescues him. It is only when she professes her love for him that he is transformed. If it wasn t for her love of the Beast from the inside he would have never been transformed and they would not have been wed. Yes, he helps her mature and become a beautiful, young women but it is her that causes the transformation.
A person can take a story and look at it from many ways. Fairy tales represent the transformation of young people. Beauty is transformed into a young woman; she passes through the stages successfully and in turn is able to love. Every story teaches a lesson and in this case more than one lesson is taught. Not only is the lesson of sexuality and maturity taught, an even more important lesson is taught. Beauty and the Beast shows that true love comes from within the inside and if it is meant to be it will prevail.